January 11, 2018

Azar Lays Out HHS Priorities at Senate Hearing

Alex M. Azar II, the Trump Administration nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), outlined his priorities for the department at a January 9 hearing before the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

Azar informed the committee that his four policy priorities as secretary would be drug pricing, access to affordable health insurance options, patient-centered care and alternative payment models, and the opioid epidemic.

Azar was a HHS deputy secretary from 2005 to 2007 under the George W. Bush administration. He most recently served as president of the U.S. division of drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company.

The Senate Finance Committee, led by Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), is responsible for Medicare and Medicaid legislation as well as other programs that, in total, involve almost three-fifths of the federal budget.

Hatch, who has served in the Senate since 1977, recently announced he will not seek reelection in 2018. It remains to be seen who will replace him as the top Republican on the finance committee. It is expected to confirm Azar’s nomination, with a vote by the full Senate to follow in the next few weeks.